Peter encouraged the Saints to be ready always to testify of Jesus Christ and to live righteously so they could dispel false accusations made against them. He taught that Jesus Christ preached the gospel in the spirit world after His death. Peter also admonished the elders of the Church to watch over God’s flock with the same care as Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:
“We will have opportunities throughout our lives to share our beliefs, although we don’t always know when we will be called upon to do so. Such an opportunity came to me in 1957, when I worked in the publishing business and was asked to go to Dallas, Texas, [USA,] sometimes called ‘the city of churches,’ to address a business convention. Following the conclusion of the convention, I took a sightseeing bus ride through the city’s suburbs. As we passed the various churches, our driver would comment, ‘On the left you see the Methodist church’ or ‘There on the right is the Catholic cathedral.’
“As we passed a beautiful red brick building situated upon a hill, the driver exclaimed, ‘That building is where the Mormons meet.’ A lady in the rear of the bus called out, ‘Driver, can you tell us something more about the Mormons?’
“The driver pulled the bus over to the side of the road, turned around in his seat, and replied, ‘Lady, all I know about the Mormons is that they meet in that red brick building. Is there anyone on this bus who knows anything more about the Mormons?’” (“Dare to Stand Alone,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 67).
If you had been on that bus, what would you have done?
Why can it sometimes be challenging to tell other people about our beliefs?
Invite students to look for a principle as they study 1 Peter 3:1–17 that will help guide them when they are presented with opportunities to share the gospel with others.
Summarize 1 Peter 3:1–11 by explaining that Peter exhorted wives to help bring unbelieving husbands to Christ through their righteous conduct. He counseled husbands to honor their wives. He also counseled members to live according to gospel standards.
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 3:14–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter counseled the Saints to do when they suffered persecution because they were living righteously.
What did Peter counsel the Saints to do when they suffered persecution because they were living righteously?
According to verse 15, what did Peter say followers of Jesus Christ should always be ready to do?
What aspects of the gospel do you think give people hope?
What words in verse 15 describe how we should share and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ? (You may want to explain that fear means reverence or awe in this context.)
What truth can we learn from 1 Peter 3:15 about what we as followers of Jesus Christ should strive to always be ready to do? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: As followers of Jesus Christ, we should strive to always be ready to share and defend our beliefs with meekness and reverence. Write this truth on the board.)
Why do you think it is important to share our beliefs with meekness and reverence?
To illustrate the truth on the board, invite a student to read aloud the rest of President Monson’s account of his experience on the bus:
“I waited for someone to respond. I gazed at the expression on each person’s face for some sign of recognition, some desire to comment. Nothing. I realized it was up to me to do as the Apostle Peter suggested, to ‘be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.’ I also realized the truth of the adage ‘When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.’
“For the next 15 or so minutes, I had the privilege of sharing with those on the bus my testimony concerning the Church and our beliefs. I was grateful for my testimony and grateful that I was prepared to share it” (“Dare to Stand Alone,” 67).
What are some things we can do to always be ready to share our beliefs?
Invite students to think of a time when they were grateful that they were prepared to share their beliefs or testimony. Ask a few students to share their experiences with the class.
Invite students to ponder what they will do to prepare to always be ready to share and defend their beliefs. Encourage them to act on any promptings they may receive.
Invite students to imagine that they are missionaries teaching a person who says the following:
“I believe what you are teaching me is true, but I wonder about people who die without having the chance to hear the truth. It doesn’t seem fair for God to punish them or prevent them from living with Him again if they never had the chance to learn about His plan of salvation.”
Ask students to ponder how they would respond.
Invite half the class to read 1 Peter 3:18–20 silently, including the Joseph Smith Translation in verse 20, footnote a. Ask the other half to read 1 Peter 4:5–6 silently, including the Joseph Smith Translation in verse 6, footnote a. Ask students to look for truths Peter taught that they could share with the person in the scenario. Explain that the phrase “the spirits in prison” in 1 Peter 3:19 refers to those in the spirit world who did not accept the gospel or have the opportunity to hear it while in mortality.
After sufficient time, ask:
What do we learn from these verses about those in the spirit world who did not accept the gospel or have the opportunity to receive it in this life?
Display a picture of President Joseph F. Smith (Gospel Art Book , no. 127; see also LDS.org). Explain that President Joseph F. Smith was pondering the meaning of 1 Peter 3:18–20 and 1 Peter 4:6 when he received a revelation and vision of the Savior’s visit to the spirit world. He saw that Jesus Christ, between the time of His death and Resurrection, preached the gospel and personally ministered to the righteous spirits. Jesus Christ then organized and authorized righteous servants to teach the gospel to the spirits in spirit prison (see D&C 138:1–11, 29–30).
According to 1 Peter 4:6, why is the gospel preached to those who are dead? (To bring about a righteous and fair judgment by giving all Heavenly Father’s children an opportunity to hear and live according to God’s laws.)
What truth can we identify from Peter’s teachings about the gospel being preached to the dead? (Students may use their own words, but make sure they identify a truth similar to the following: The gospel is preached to those who have died so that they may have the same opportunities as those who hear the gospel in mortality.)
Briefly review the scenario presented at the beginning of this scripture block and ask:
How is the doctrine of salvation for the dead evidence of God’s mercy and compassion for His children?
Summarize 1 Peter 4:7–19 by explaining that Peter admonished the Saints to have fervent charity because charity covers, or prevents, a multitude of sins (see Joseph Smith Translation, 1 Peter 4:8 [in 1 Peter 4:8, footnote a]). Peter also taught the Saints to rejoice when they suffer trials and reproach because of their belief in Jesus Christ.
Explain that to help prepare the Saints for the trials they would experience, Peter taught the elders of the Church about their responsibilities as Church leaders. Invite a student to read 1 Peter 5:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Peter’s counsel to the elders of the Church.
What counsel did Peter give to the elders of the Church?
Explain that to “feed the flock of God” (verse 2) means to take care of and watch over the members of the Church. Church leaders were to serve willingly and with love rather than grudgingly or out of a desire for reward. They were to be examples to the members instead of “lords” (verse 3) over them.
From Peter’s counsel to the elders of the Church, what truth can we learn about the responsibility of Church leaders? (Help students identify a truth similar to the following: Church leaders have the responsibility to care for and watch over God’s flock in love and by example. Write this truth on the board.)
Invite students to read 1 Peter 5:4 silently, looking for how Peter referred to the Savior. Ask students to report what they find.
Display the picture Jesus Carrying a Lost Lamb (Gospel Art Book , no. 64; see also LDS.org), and ask:
Why do you think the Savior is often depicted as a shepherd?
What Christlike qualities and attributes can help Church leaders watch over and care for the members of the Church?
How have you been blessed by the Christlike love or example of a Church leader?
Summarize 1 Peter 5:7–14 by explaining that Peter taught the Saints to cast their care (meaning anxiety) upon the Savior Jesus Christ and to remain steadfast in their faith, despite afflictions. Peter assured them that if they did so, God would perfect and strengthen them.
Conclude by encouraging students to trust in and follow those whom the Lord has called to help shepherd and care for them spiritually.
To encourage students to participate in the work of salvation for their ancestors, review with them 1 Peter 4:6, and then ask:
What can we do to help our ancestors who have received the gospel in the spirit world and are waiting to be freed from spirit prison?
How do you feel you have been blessed by doing family history and temple work for your ancestors?
Invite students to seek opportunities to do family history research about their ancestors and to participate in temple ordinances in behalf of those ancestors.